31 Flavors of Football: The ‘What-If’ Game

To help you and me get through the drudgery of August, I will present in this space a daily scoop of MSU football-ness, as inspired by a certain ice cream chain. August has 31 days, so I’ll let you work it out from there. Here is today’s flavor.

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Back in July, as the summer dragged on and we all pined for the week that we currently find ourselves in, the guys over at ForWhomtheCowbellTolls.com (an SBNation blog) addressed a question that many an MSU fan has asked: What if Cam Newton had played for the Bulldogs? (CLICK HERE)

In that entry, MSU’s 2010 season was simulated with Newton inserted at quarterback. The result: A 10-2 regular season mark, which is two wins better than what actually happened. The simulation included wins over Auburn, LSU and Arkansas (State lost all of those games that year) and a loss to Florida (it won that one in Gainesville).

Obviously, we don’t really know how that season would’ve gone, but it certainly could’ve been special had Newton stuck with his MSU, which seemed poised to snare him until a late-December visit and commitment to Auburn, where he won a BCS title and a Heisman Trophy amid a recruiting scandal. You also have to wonder, of course, that if MSU had gotten Newton, would the scandal still have followed? (I wondered that when all this was going down, CLICK HERE.)

Anyway, the what-if game, while ultimately fruitless, is a fun exercise. You also have to wonder what if Keyshawn Johnson had stuck with MSU back in the ’90s, or what if serial base stealer Billy Hamilton had decided to play football (and/or baseball) for the Bulldogs after signing with Dan Mullen in 2009, or what if current MSU first baseman Wes Rea had decided to continue his career as a stellar offensive lineman?

Such questions can drive you mad, of course, and it’s easy to forget that this game can be reversed. What if Fletcher Cox had signed elsewhere, or what if Mullen hadn’t been able to hold on to Tyler Russell during the coaching change, or what if Denico Autry had picked Ole Miss or Alabama?

I’d love to hear any what-ifs y’all might have in mind.